April 10th, 2014

Sinfest - Fear the Pussy

Spiritual Narratives about Sexuality

Spirituality and sexuality are intertwined in the human experience. I've indulged in some. I've danced around the others. This blog entry is about a root commonality of seeming incongruent spiritual path: the sexual narrative.


I recently read a blog that started with the paragraph:

Witches (along with many other denominations of Paganism) view sex as sacred. The Charge of the Goddess says that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess, and not only do I believe that to be true, it's one of the things that drew me to this religion. In many ways, we're more open about sex (some of us say that we're more "sex positive") than the members of many/most other religions. Similarly, we're more likely to be quite accepting of QLTBG, etc. sex/sexuality/identity, polyamory, public nudity, and various less-than-mainstream forms of sexual expression than the members of many other religions. Our on-line discussions and our festivals and conferences often reflect this reality.

This got me thinking about expressions of sexuality and the shadow sides of religions. I found the first sentence to be especially interesting. A quick search on Google revealed a tantric oriented article that said:

Why is sex sacred? The dictionary defines sacred as "made or declared holy, dedicated or devoted exclusively to a use, purpose, or person worthy of reverence or respect." The word itself comes from the Latin, sacra meaning "sacred, holy, consecrated," that is, blessed or revered. The noun (singular) is sacrum, meaning a holy thing or place.

Another Google plunge found a Christian oriented page that said:

Sacred sex should be "rooted in a sacrificial dying to yourself in such a way that means laying your will, pride and needs on the altar while considering the other as more important than yourself. ...The two partners share much more than some moments of passion. They share their secrets, their hearts' DNA, their fears, their hopes, their failures and even so much as their 'treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places.'"

The long of the short of it is that pagan's don't have the market cornered on believing sexuality is sacred. There are many spiritual paths that feature their stand on sexuality front and center. The reasoning seems simple enough. People think about sex. Sex is a motivational driver. Any spiritual path worth anything will address the topic, and do so in a way that satisfies those who will embrace the path.

This gets really interesting when you consider the message of each spiritual path, and then consider where it seeks to connect with the follower. We are all wired a little differently, with varying fears, desires and convictions.  Every spiritual path has a narrative that hooks and feeds the adherents. Does your spiritual path have a sexual narrative that you connect with?
Shaman - Horse

The Dark Side of Sacred Sex

Maybe I'm getting older and more conservative. Naw, but this blog entry has that flavor in its own rambling kind of way. My apologies!

Some background on me first. I am a pagan going back a bit. I attended my share of pagan festivals / gatherings where I sold used books and very much enjoyed myself. I on the shamanistic path and my lovely mate is more classically pagan. I've seen and heard a lot about how sexuality plays out in the pagan landscape, and I have to say that I wonder sometimes.

I recently read a blog that started with the paragraph:

Witches (along with many other denominations of Paganism) view sex as sacred. The Charge of the Goddess says that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess, and not only do I believe that to be true, it's one of the things that drew me to this religion. In many ways, we're more open about sex (some of us say that we're more "sex positive") than the members of many/most other religions.

Love and pleasure, also known as sex, is a really really complicated thing. Sex means so many things to so many people. Some see sex as a holy relic, only brought out on the sacred holidays. Others see sex as a playground. Others see sex as an avenue to full realization of life. Many are just horny and like to get it when they can. This stew of motivations seems far to complex for a statement “all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess”.

My normally open attitude towards sex has issues with the statement I shared earlier: “all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess”. Why? It is with a heavy heart that I look back at the things I am aware of first and second hand. This spiritual expression of “love and pleasure” is fraught with peril for most involved. My pessimistic attitude about pagan attitudes towards sex can be traced back to my feeling that sexuality is complicated, people are fallible, and damn just horny. These three factors can combine in horrible ways when religious authority meets sexual desire.

The result of authority + sexual desire is the transformation of seduction into coercion. The mutual choice of two becomes the unwanted harassment of one. In the background of this travesty of “spiritual sex” is the drum beat that everything is OK. It is a dangerous combination. The positive message of “Sex positive” is replaced with sex demanded by authority, with the supposed support of higher spiritual powers.

If I'm pagan, why don't I buy into the “everything goes, no matter the means or outcome, because the spiritual is served? I'm not a prude. I bend toward the kinky side, with a dose of realizing that sex, in all its forms, is a beneficial attractor between us human types.  I very much admire the beauty of the human body. I am enraptured by beauty and appreciate others doing so as well. The place where I deviate is that my spiritual mantra would be something like “all my relations”. This sentiment carries the demand for respectfulness, and when necessary, wariness. I may choose to indulge in many things, but I do it with respect for myself and the one or more other participants.

Are all pagans self-serving sexual predators because it is their spiritual mandate? Of course not! Most don't have the authority to pull the power trips required to coerce the unwilling. Most are decent horny adults with liberated attitudes towards sexuality. The actual percentage of predators is very small, but the warning I pass onto the reader is that these sexual predators are hidden behind positional power and a convenient spiritual mandate. Here are some warning signs (borrowed and modified from another blog) for the pagans you want to avoid:

•  Does their advance scare or alarm you?
•  Have you made clear made it clear to them that you are uninterested in their advances, and they still persist?
•  Is their "spiritual message" just a uninvited assessment on your attractiveness/body/genitals?
•  Does the context of this situation (spiritual truth, sacred ritual) make a direct sexual advance offensive or inappropriate?
•  Are they just being a bit of a dick?

A yes to any of these should ring the alarm bells. All nos could mean that you want to play with the authority figure in naughty ways. Go for it! Remember respect for yourself, those you play with, and whatever spiritual path you may follow.